About Partnering



hs-sml.gif (7353 bytes) Project Partnering is a Structured Team Building Method for Project Managers.

Proven Initially for Construction Teams, it has Evolved to Create Successful Project Teams within the Defense Industry for Systems Acquisition, Manufacturing Projects, and Service Projects.


ATI Systems Advocates Partnering for Success

When Dennis Eriksen founded ATI Systems in 1990, one of his major goals was to search out more effective project management tools.  During a career in industry, his projects succeeded because of the high performance teams he developed, but he was frustrated that there were few structured team-building tools available to the project manager.  Success at teambuilding was historically more dependent on the personalities of the leaders than on defined management processes or tools.  Introduced to the partnered project in 1992, Dennis became an advocate of the merits it offered in developing project cultures where the contributing organizations cooperate to align their goals and "pull together as an effective team."   He also found value in the tools that it provides project management -- Structured partnering processes to establish commitments to cooperation, shared goals that exceed the norm, processes for open communications, and processes for rapid issue resolution.  Partnering is an innovative method of accomplishing extraordinary achievement by project teams.  Partnering has helped our firm to provide consulting services that measure up to the criteria set by our company name Achievement Through Innovation ATI Systems.


Construction Managers Agree


Partnered projects yield exceptional results

This is confirmed by the findings of the survey conducted by Erik Larson of the College of Business, Oregon State University and reported in the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Journal of Management in Engineering.   Supported by the Project Management Institute (PMI), Larson surveyed their members involved in construction; the 280 responses provided stunning evidence of the success of construction partnering. 


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The survey results are shown above for three measures of success in construction management: Meeting Schedules, Controlling Costs, and Project Results that Satisfied the Stakeholders. Larson's survey also measured the construction teams results in meeting technical performance, customer needs, avoiding litigation, and overall results -- by every measure the projects that had invested in formal partnering team building excelled over all alternative management relationships. At the bottom line, formally partnered engineering teams yielded much better project performance than teams that worked in an adversarial project relationship, or a guarded project relationship, or even in an informally partnered relationship.

When seeking to create a cooperative project team and an effective smooth running project, partnering is the foremost proactive teambuilding method available.


An Introduction to Partnering

The construction industry became so adversarial that the U.S. competitiveness was threatened. Time and money were being lost by the stakeholder organizations pulling against one another in the management of large engineering projects wasted in defensive posturing, case building, developing claims and litigating. The culture had become adversarial. In 1987, an industry association, the Construction Industry Institute (CII), took the lead by establishing a task force to search out and structure a culture based on mutual trust, shared goals, open communications, and building on one another to open the door to opportunities Partnering. The Task Force's findings were summarized in booklet form, In Search of Partnering Excellence, which is available from the Construction Industry Institute. This work set down the basic precepts and methods of partnering.

Partnering has improved the very culture of the construction industry.  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Naval Facilities Engineering Command tried partnering for their military construction projects.  The successes of those projects were so dramatic that they established partnering as their preferred way of conducting business with one result being that the Society of Military Engineers became a leading partnering proponent.  Contractors benefited and their industry associations, e.g., the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), became advocates.  Likewise, the designers of heavy engineering projects benefited and their industry associations, the American Institute of Architects, American Consulting Engineers Council, and National Society of Professional Engineers, have "bought in," become advocates, and provided training materials for their members.  Perhaps the best evidence of the "bottom line" success of partnering in the construction segment is a standing offer by the Design Professional Insurance Companies to pay for the partnering consultant and the partnering workshop for projects for which they are insuring the design team.

Partnering benefits are not limited to the construction segment.  It is a viable management technique that brings divergent organizations together into a motivated team committed to pull together for the success of the project and the success of the organizations.  Partnering provides the project managers, for the first time, with effective tools for project team building  structured methods to establish mutual goals and measures of success, to create open communications, and to rapidly resolve issues.  The adaptability of partnering to other industries is typified by the Department of Defense's recent success at applying partnering to defense systems acquisitions: Aircraft, weapons, electronic systems, chemical/biological defense systems are benefiting because their project managers have recognized the value of building a team committed to the cooperative precepts and methods of partnering.

The results of partnering can be dramatic.  ATI Systems has supported major projects that have reduced their schedules by as much as fifty percent, with attendant cost savings.  One project that we take particular pride in was the repair of the Northridge Earthquake damage that closed the Santa Monica Freeway.   This team's performance was truly extraordinary.  The contractors and the California Department of Transportation's commitment to partnering were evident when they chose to set aside the first day of this project's 140-day schedule for a partnering workshop A day which would ultimately be valued at either $200,000 as an incentive for early completion or at $205,000 as a penalty for delay. Thirty-eight stakeholders attended the workshop, some having driven all night to meet with their counterparts and participate in defining their management goals and processes for the project. The goals developed that day included completing a safe, quality project in 90 days, 50 days early. The team went on to create an extraordinary mission statement in their partnering charter, "We promise to deliver this project as a model of recovery to the people of Los Angeles and its surrounding communities." Now sixteen years later, the stakeholders still take tremendous pride in having set the peg extraordinarily high and then having bettered even that commitment. They reopened this, the world's most heavily traveled thoroughfare, in just 66 days.  It was an accomplishment that merited and received international acclaim!

This introduction has been brief to accommodate a web page.  Additional information and articles authored by the principal of ATI Systems are available.  For additional information, either contact our offices or make an online request .


Copyright 1999 - 2020 by ATI Systems

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